Alternatives to measuring GDP?
Is there a better way, than GDP, of guaging how well the country is doing? What would a better measure be? Bhutan looks at Gross National Happiness. Is this a real or useful measure?
Communicating carbon footprints better
An average family of 4 generates approx 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year (https://www.carbonfootprint.com/minimisecfp.html). Suggested changes could reduce that by approx. 437kg, or just over 4%. Is seeing this helpful, or does it make you feel helpless?
GDP is not all it's cracked up to be. At best it seems it's a measure of relative change in certain sectors of the economy and in certain segments of society over the past period. Useful, but only up to a point. As an absolute measure, it's almost no use at all. Not least when you realise how differently different countries measure GDP.
Are you an economist or studying economics and finding the obsession with GDP rather misses a lot? If so and you think there is a better way of tracking how well the country is doing, then get in touch with us at [email protected] and let us know how to do it better.
You will get a sense of what might matter to us in Renew from looking around the rest of the site but, in short, we are looking for a measure that captures a much fuller picture of activity in the country, and not just activity that might traditioanlly be considered "of economic value". The impact on people and communities matters to us, and whether people are able to live happy and fulfilled lives.
How can we really empower individuals with respect to making a difference on carbon emissions?
We all know there is a target of reaching net zero before 2050. But it's not at all clear what changes this will mean for our lifestyles. For the most part, a lot of the narrative is about supposedly bad things that we need to stop doing. As a way of motivating people that approach can be less than effective. On the other hand, many people will say that is precisely what we need: something to shock us out of our complacency.
The challenge as we here at Renew see it is finding better ways of explaining how our activities generate carbon. This could either be a simple tool that is intuitive to use and clearly explains what is included and what is not in any estimate. Or it could be proposals that rewrite some of the current guidance around defining emissions: Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
There are two aspects in tension in tackling greenhouse gas emission: the polluter pays principle vs. the consumer demands. Having a carbon footprint tool that puts all of the emissions onto the consumer is perhaps not the best way to communicate the impact of our lifestyles. But consumers don't necessarily understand how emissions are calculated otherwise. Another potential downside of putting more of the total carbon footprint (from supply chain contributions for example) onto the consumer is that it pushes the problem to a level where effective action is harder. If 60 million people made a 4% reduction in their emissions, that's still only a 4% reduction but that effort will probably have been outweighed by the additional carbon generated in the campaign to motivate 60 million people.
So what tool could we build that shows a meaningful figure that individuals can do something about - and which helps educate on where carbon is effectively invisible in supply chains? Such a tool would empower people to take action at their level - it is much more plausible to offset 4000 miles of annual motoring if it is less than 2 tonnes of CO2 - and point the direction for them to campaign in with regard to supply chain issues and systemic level emissions.
Do you think you could help us develop something like this? Or have we missed the point entirely - in which case, please educate us! Write to us at [email protected]